BlackBerry Prototypes: 9800 Slider & 9670
Well, the larger blogs & favourites in the BlackBerry world are a buzz with the newest leaked prototypes. I love a peak into the near & immediate future as much as the next guy, and maybe its a controlled release by RIM, however it could be a double-edge sword.
When customers get a peak into the future product lineup of cellphone manufacturers – the can turn into a fanatic chorus or a mob. The mob can do wonders – give you great consumer opinionated feedback at no cost (maybe a profit: cell the prototype at a gain). The mob also can do you no good – just about all cellphone manufacturers make their profits from consumer/corporate hardware upgrades with cellular providers. We know that RIM’s revenue intake consists just over 60% from the consumer market and if just 20-30% decide they don’t like the upcoming device lineup they may just be looking at the competition. The fanatic chorus may just be what a controlled leak is hoping to gain: reason to push all R&D to speed up the production of the targeted prototype.
Oh yes. A BlackBerry Slider seems to be inevitable and an acceptable side evolution of the brand. Lately, BGR & CrackBerry have spoken out – even shown a video – of it getting the “Bold” sub-brand. This can be a BAD move by RIM.
The BlackBerry Bold is a device that fits an upper echelon corporate & consumer base. Sure the popularity of the Bold makes any device a sure sale especially with the recent success of the 9700. Putting the Tour 2, the 9650, into the Bold lineup was just a no-brainer and an evolutionary step. It really was a better Bold, sleek yet large keyboard that the 9000 had, for those on CDMA carriers. The Bold is the brand name that evolved from the mind-numbing full-qwerty lineup of the past (6800,7250,etc). Now we already have the Bold 9700, Bold 9650, and original Bold 9000 (still being sold). All of which are full-qwerty slate devices with no shell moving parts.
This slider is a great looking device, and I have no issues with its current styling queues; but giving if a sure fire sub-brand naming is a BAD move. Not many out there have any love for the Storm 1, and the Storm 2 is an awesome device – with still few loving it in the consumer space. RIM should learn from previous cautious consumers from purchasing a touch screen device from them; why bring even the remote possibility of diluting the BlackBerry Bold brand with a slider which will have “loose slider” mechanism issues & worse satisfaction from consumers that cannot get timely (1wk) repairs or shell component replacement parts (Storm 2 replacement housing is a nightmare to find). The whole point of going from numerical device models to a name gives consumers, and various support areas (provider, sales, corporate) an easier way to relate to devices. Bold is beginning to look congested. The slider fits more into the Storm lineup, or even a new category.
No doubt this slider with non-SureType touch screen will have love.
Another serious consideration is design patents which can be fired like a viscous salvo across RIM’s brow and taken very uncomfortably. This is not Palm Inc with limited cash flows, its now a subsidiary of HP a HUGE corporation that eclipses RIM. HP doesn’t make any good smartphones, period, but they make great computers, laptops, servers, and services & software for large corporations. Hopefully this slider doesn’t impede any design patents – we really don’t want to see RIM in another globally aware patent dispute. I DO see many former Palm users going to RIM with this very model though so its smart thinking by RIM’s engineers and designers.
Now on to the 9670 … just look at it. Its got a buttaface that only its mother could love, and shouldn’t!!
Wasted space above & below the keyboard, endless design queues from Motorola parts bin: RAZR2 hinge, RAZR2 bottom chin, Pebble outter buttress (when flip is open how the edge over lips the back), outter screen case takes from the last of the Accompoli lineup, and actually the Bold series, Pearl 9100, Storm 2, and all current BB models take the back camera layout from the Motorola Q (I didn’t notice this before).
Some out there will like this, but how does this really improve form the Pearl flip experience that a morphed Pearl 9100 into a flip cannot offer? Really, will the full QWERTY really be an improvement for a flip BlackBerry device or a larger screen? Can both together with a Butta Face design really be successful enough to warrant the expense of its R&D? To be honest I think the this Flip needs to go back to formula, back the the drawing board. A flip phone by design is to evoke passion in its design appeal, offer great 1 handed experience, and lead the product line (well before the Apple touchscreen madness began).
Well that’s it for this weekend, I think. Tomorrow is Mothers day and IronMan.